Kevin's Dive Buddies, Merry Passage and Phil Garner
Phyllidiopsis blanca , Gosliner & Behrens 1988
Every once in a while one a diver comes across one of the rare ones. Since Terry and I described this species in 1988, we are aware only of this and one other documented observation, by Scott Gietler (BOW 572) near the Olympic II wreck in San Pedro, California.
Kevin lucked out. He was diving with sharp eyed Merry Passage who found the slug on "Little Reef", off Pt. Vicente, Palos Verdes, at about 55 feet.
As far as we know this is the only temperate species in the family Phyllidiidae. We still know very little about the biology of this critter, which has not shown up for years. Scott's photo suggests that individuals feed on a grey-blue sponge, Hymenamphiastra cyanocrypta.
The published description of P. blanca states that it has an undulating mantle, and that the color is white to grey. Kevin and Merry's specimen here adds the potential of a sprinkling of brown between the irregularly distributed dorsal tubercles. Like all members of the family the gill is located under the mantle, on the hyponotum. Only the anus can be seen in the location of a typical dorid gill. The rhinophores are lamellate.
Like other porostome nudibranchs, this species has no radula, to chew on the sponge with. It feeds on sponges by spitting digestive juices onto the sponge, and then slurping up the resulting sponge soup.
Good show guys.
Kevin Lee, Dave Behrens, and Christiane Waldrich relaxing after a hard day of slug hunting at Villa Markisa Saraya, Bali,Indonesia!
Kevin certainly needs no introduction to the Southern California Dive Community! On a international level you may have encountered Kevin as he certainly gets around on a life time quest to photograph the many treasures of the undersea world. Kevin's images of Corambe steinbergae are the best ever that I have seen of this elusive quarry! Am positive that Jim Lance, if he were alive today would concur in that opinion!
San Diego, Calif
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